Safe Sex at Festivals
Always use a condom if pulling a stranger
Photographer: Simon Clements-Hawes02 January 2008
Rock on after the lights are out
This summer, if you're planning to make your own music through the festival season, don't forget, when packing the obligatory toilet roll, waterproofs and wellies to include some condoms. www.condomessentialwear.co.uk has the following advice for festival-goers:
Be prepared: Make sure you are carrying condoms before you set off – that way you won’t have to worry about getting some later if you get lucky. Condoms are as essential as toilet roll, waterproofs and underwear and will reduce the risk of catching the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, Genital Warts and Herpes. They also protect against HIV.
You can get condoms from your GP, sexual health clinics, community contraceptive clinic, or, if you're under 25, from places like Brook. You can also buy condoms from the pharmacy or supermarket, from vending machines, or online.
Look out for your mates: If you're checking out the festival talent make it a ritual to check you are all carrying condoms before you leave your tent! Approximately one in ten 16-25 year olds in the UK are currently infected with chlamydia - so you know it makes sense to carry and use a condom.
Remember: Some STIs including Chlamydia can have no visible symptoms – so you may not know whether you or your partner is infected. STIs can also be passed on through oral sex, so use condoms for this too.
Think twice: Festival fun-seekers have a tendency to think 'anything goes' but don't let the music go to your head – always use a condom.
Have unprotected sex: This puts you at risk of STIs and unplanned pregnancy. Remember, you can't tell by looking whether someone has an STI - no matter how gorgeous they are.
Rely only on the Pill: While it is an effective way to prevent pregnancy, the Pill doesn't protect against STIs. Don't take the risk - always use a condom.
Let condoms come into contact with oil-based products: Products like suntan lotion, baby oil and lipstick can damage condoms. So, be careful when packing, carrying and using them.
Use novelty condoms: Condoms without the European CE mark are not safe, also check expiry dates as condoms don’t last forever!
Festivals are all about having fun and letting go but, if you're not careful, you could get a lot more than you bargain for when you pull this summer. Don't make this festival one to remember for all the wrong reasons.
For more information on condoms, sexual health, how to protect yourself from STIs and to find your nearest GU Clinic visit www.condomessentialwear.co.uk or call the free and confidential Sexual Health helpline 0800 567 123. Textphone (for people with hearing difficulties) 0800 521 361.